Write about climate change; win a trip to Paris!

St Lucia gov’t offers journalists prize for COP 21

Friday, October 16, 2015

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CASTRIES, Saint Lucia — The Environmental Education Unit of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science, and Technology here has issued a challenge to journalists to cover climate change-related issues for a chance to win a trip to Paris.

It is called the Saint Lucia Media Climate Change Challenge, and invites journalists to:

(i) register for the challenge;

(ii) report on climate change issues; and

(iii) submit copies of the published pieces to the ministry.

The winner will receive an all-expense paid trip to cover the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21), scheduled for Paris in December, where world leaders will attempt to forge a legally binding agreement to keep the effects of climate change in check.

"Climate change is arguably the current biggest threat to human survival and the media is viewed as a critical partner in informing citizens of the pending threats and encouraging appropriate responses," said a release from the ministry.

"The media challenge provides Saint Lucia media unimpeded access to key resource people involved in climate change negotiations and advocacy, with the intention of providing regular updates on pertinent issues. This initiative forms part of the ministry's broader
social media and telecommunications public awareness and communication strategy," it added.

According to Permanent Secretary Sylvester Clauzel, the challenge encourages local media to focus on climate change issues while providing them wonderful incentives.

"The Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology recognises the media as key development partners and more so key to addressing the climate change phenomena," he said.

"The Saint Lucia Media Climate Change Challenge is a cool way to get the media on board with all the work currently being done in climate change while increasing public awareness and education," Clauzel added.

News of the challenge comes as the ministry collaborates with other regional players, among
them Panos Caribbean,
to undertake the #1point5tostayalive campaign.

The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness while building momentum and popular support for the Caribbean's negotiating position in the run up to COP21.

"The message is 1.5 to stay alive," said Minister of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science, and Technology Dr James Fletcher in a release on the campaign issued earlier this week.

"The Caribbean needs a legally binding global agreement that keeps temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the year 2100," he added.

According to Fletcher, who is also patron of the #1point5tostayalive campaign, the Caribbean also wants the new agreement to provide adequate, predictable and accessible climate financing to support adaptation, mitigation and other climate change-related needs in poor and vulnerable countries, including small island states.

In addition to Panos Caribbean and the Saint Lucia ministry, other partners in the #1point5tostayalive campaign are the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, the Regional Council of Martinique, and the Caribbean Development Bank.

Together, these actors have drawn in other regional constituents, including artists -- the likes of award-winning poet Kendel Hippolyte, also of Saint Lucia, and Jamaican reggae artiste Aaron Silk, among others -- journalists andother civil society actors to work together to spread the Caribbean message of #1point5tostayalive.

"We need to tell the world what we feel and what we want," declared Hippolyte at the launch, held here last Thursday.


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